From The Ramparts
Junious Ricardo Stanton
2016 has gotten off to a rocky start, the global economic system is experiencing tremors and rumblings of a downturn that may lead to significant damage to an already precarious global economic condition. The media and the Obama administration tell the American public the economy is doing well and in a growth mode but nothing could be further from the truth. For example early 2016 reports indicate this will be a bad year for the retail giants which will impact domestic and global employment numbers and people's ability to pay their bills.
Even the 1% ownership class is alarmed as the stock markets have been down early in January 2016 with gloomy predictions as the Wall Street machinations, casino style manipulations and Ponzi schemes finally catch up to the 1 % crowd. But the bad news is while most of us are not into the stock and commodities markets, the downturn or crash may take us all down with them because many of our pension funds are tied to them.
"Stock markets in the US and around the world ended the week with massive selloffs, rocked by fears that the slowdown in China and plunging oil and commodity prices will trigger a new financial crisis on the order of the 2007-2008 disaster. Another sharp fall on Chinese markets, with the Shanghai Composite Index dropping 3.55 percent, followed by a 6 percent fall in oil prices to $29 a barrel, set off a wave of panic selling. The mood was summed up by the chief strategist at Federated Investors, who said, 'Investors are scared to death, and the fact that it’s happening at the beginning of the year has some historical significance.'
A major factor in the Chinese selloff was concern that Beijing will report its weakest full-year growth figure in 25 years on Tuesday. On Friday, Walmart announced that it will close 269 stores, 154 of them in the US, and eliminate 16,000 jobs. The Walmart statement, coming on the heels of multi-store closure announcements by Macy’s and Sears-Kmart, highlighted the worsening slowdown in the real economy globally and in the US that underlies the turbulence on stock and bond markets. It also reflected the reality of falling wages and mounting income insecurity affecting broad layers of the US population." Global Stock Plunge Amid Fears of A New Financial Crisis by Barry Grey 16 January 2016 https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2016/01/16/econ-j16.html
A recent report showed there are record numbers of retail chain and big box stores shutting stores down and laying off employees: The following is a recent report on this situation. "Macy’s will close 36 stores and cut hundreds of jobs after a disappointing sales and earnings performance in 2015. Other big-name chains are also closing up shop at under-performing locations in 2016, including Gap Inc., which will shutter 175 across North America, and Walgreens, which plans to close 200. These announcements have become fairly predictable. Just today,J.C. Penney told TheStreet.com that it would likely shut seven mall stores before 2016 is out. Of these retailers downsizing brick-and-mortar footprints, J.C. Penney is the most at-risk, according to data from Rapid Ratings." http://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2016/01/12/retailers-at-risk-these-five-store-chains-face-an-uphill-battle-in-2016/#2715e4857a0b701e225f6a2c,.
J.C. Penney is not the only major retailer that plans to close stores in 2016. Other retail giants have also announced plans to close stores and lay off workers. Here is a list of the names of the retailers and the number of stores that have announced will close in 2016. 400 Office Depot / Office Max (by 2016), 223 Barnes & Noble (through 2023), 200 Children’s Place (through 2017), 200 Walgreens (by 2017), 175 Aeropostale (over the next several years) 154 Walmart (US 102 Walmart Express, 12 Walmart Supercenter, 6 Walmart, 23 Walmart Neighborhood Market, 4 Sam's Clubs), 150 American Eagle Outfitters (through 2017) 150 Finish Line ,120 Chico’s (through 2017),1 Persnickety Toys, 100 Pier One (through 2017) 60 Pier One (fiscal 2016, ending February, 2016), 54 Golf Galaxy (by 2016 ,36 Macy's, 35 Gap / Gap Kids (2016), 30 Hartstrings (Out of Business) , 27 Sears and Kmart, 20 Pick ’n Save (by 2017), 14 Kitson’s , 10 Barnes & Noble (2016 calendar year), 5 Hallmark, 3 Martin's Food and Drugstore, 2 Elder-Beerman (Bon-Ton), 1 American Greetings, 1 Ann Taylor, 1 Target, 1 Wavedancer (Out of Business) http://retailindustry.about.com/od/USRetailStoreClosingInfoFAQs/fl/US-2016-Store-Closings-All-Retail-Chain-Store-Locations-To-Be-Closed_2.htm
None of the presidential candidates are talking about this, to hear them tell it everything is honky-dory because for most of them it is, they are rich and they don't have to worry about the things most Americans fret and fume about like job security, having to work two or more jobs, surviving on a pension, how they can pay their bills, piling debt and lowered standards of living.
The Republican candidates are fixated on war, expanding the police state, and none of them are talking about issues and solutions the resonate with working class or poor people: income inequality, economic apartheid, the outsourcing of US jobs and the bail out of Wall Street. It's as if they have all gone totally insane, they are totally insensitive to the plight of the average citizen. Hillary Clinton is a tool of Wall Street and a warmonger so we cannot expect her to offer any real solutions for us. Senator Sanders talks about economic inequality but does not mention how US imperialism is draining the economy.
Other critical issues facing us in 2016 are the very real threats to humanity, world peace and ecocide by the psychopathic and megalomaniacal ruling elites. The famed Doomsday Clock a visual reminder of the potential for global annihilation was moved closer to the midnight hour; to 11:57 PM this year. "The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists doesn't use the clock to make any real doomsday predictions. Rather, the clock is a visual metaphor to warn the public about how close the world is to a potentially civilization-ending catastrophe. Each year, the magazine's board analyzes threats to humanity's survival to decide where the Doomsday Clock's hands should be set. Experts on the board said they felt a sense of urgency this year because of the world's ongoing addiction to fossil fuels, procrastination with enacting laws to cut greenhouse gas emissions and slow efforts to get rid of nuclear weapons." http://www.livescience.com/49527-doomsday-clock-3-minutes-to-midnight.html.
Genetically Modified Organisms, what I call Frankenfoods and Frankenseeds are on the rise and proliferate the globe despite the efforts of activists and scientists to warn us about their dangers. The US government is being bribed and bought off by the giant so called bio-tech industries like Monsanto which are doing booming business both here and around the world! "The "Big 6" pesticide and GMO corporations are BASF, Bayer, Dupont, Dow Chemical Company, Monsanto, and Syngenta. They are so called because they dominate the agricultural input market -- that is, they own the world’s seed, pesticide and biotechnology industries. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), corporate concentration of the agricultural input market 'has far-reaching implications for global food security, as the privatization and patenting of agricultural innovation (gene traits, transformation technologies and seed germplasm) has been supplanting traditional agricultural understandings of seed, farmers' rights, and breeders' rights.'" http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php/"Big_6"_Pesticide_and_GMO_Corporations
These are just a few of the issues facing us in 2016 that for the most part the corporate mind control apparatus is not discussing because they are too busy distracting us from what is really going on in the world and brainwashing us to go along with the ruling class' okey-doke and flim flam which could very well bring the world to the brink of economic collapse, world war or both.